Kerala, TN crucial for Cong

Did you know that one of every nine Lok Sabha members is elected from deep south. And these 60 seats -- 20 in Kerala, 39 inTamil Nadu and the Pondicherry (UT) seat, could prove crucial to both Congress and BJP, particularly the former.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2004 14:07 IST

Did you know that one of every nine Lok Sabha members is elected from deep south. And these 60 seats -- 20 in Kerala, 39 inTamil Nadu and the Pondicherry (UT) seat, could prove crucial to both Congress and BJP, particularly the former.

Congress here is at the mercy of two crotchety old politicians -- DMK supremo M Karunanidhi and Kerala veteran K Karunakaran.

In the last general election the three crucial states in deep South had virtually saved the party from the humiliation of drifting into a double digit figure.

Of the 114 seats it won in 1999, eleven came courtesy the deep South. Many others were won by Congress' electoral allies, but some of those, like Jayalalithaa, have turned into foes this time.

Many are skeptical of Congress repeating its 1999 performance here this time.

In 1999, Congress had won 10 out of 20 seats in Kerala. Though the Congress has struck an agreement with karunakaran with a state Cabinet berth for his son K Muraleedharan, things are not that easy for Congress, particularly in view of the Antony-Karunakaran war of nerves still on.

The Pondicherry had gone to Congress in 1999, when its MOH Farook was elected from here.

In Tamil Nadu, Congress has joined the DMK-MDMK-PMK front. However, the Congress more or less was given a cold shoulder in the seat sharing. And Karunanidhi has reasons enough to give Congress the cold shoulder. His first ministry was sacked by Congress in 1976 after his vocal opposition to Emergency. His second was dismissed by Chandra Shekhar in 1991 at Rajiv Gandhi's instigation.

And then the Congress pulled down Gujral Govt because of the presence of DMK ministers in the Union Cabinet. Congress then considered DMK as the villain of Rajiv Assassination tragedy.

For BJP, it's very little to gain or lose in the deep South.

First Published: Mar 25, 2004 10:51 IST